National Security correspondent, Washington DC
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Feb 4, 2012

Amid peace bid, U.S. got purported letter from Taliban

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House received a letter last year purported to come directly from Mullah Omar, the reclusive leader of the Taliban, asking the United States to deliver militant prisoners whose transfer is now at the heart of the Obama administration’s bid to broker peace in Afghanistan.

The unusual message kicked off a debate within the administration about whether it was truly authored by the mysterious one-eyed preacher believed to be directing the Taliban from hiding in Pakistan — and its meaning for U.S. efforts to forge a negotiated end to America’s longest war.

Feb 3, 2012

Amid peace bid, U.S. received purported letter from Taliban chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House received a letter last year purported to come directly from Mullah Omar, the reclusive leader of the Taliban, asking the United States to deliver militant prisoners whose transfer is now at the heart of the Obama administration’s bid to broker peace in Afghanistan.

The unusual message kicked off a debate within the administration about whether it was truly authored by the mysterious one-eyed preacher believed to be directing the Taliban from hiding in Pakistan — and its meaning for U.S. efforts to forge a negotiated end to 10 years of war.

Feb 3, 2012

Amid peace bid, U.S. received purported letter from Taliban

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House received a letter last year purported to come directly from Mullah Omar, the reclusive leader of the Taliban, asking the United States to deliver militant prisoners whose transfer is now at the heart of the Obama administration’s bid to broker peace in Afghanistan.

The unusual message kicked off a debate within the administration about whether it was truly authored by the mysterious one-eyed preacher believed to be directing the Taliban from hiding in Pakistan — and its meaning for U.S. efforts to forge a negotiated end to 10 years of war.

Feb 2, 2012

U.S. lawmakers warn of outcry against Taliban transfer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers are steeling for a public battle against the possible transfer of Taliban detainees out of Guantanamo Bay prison, a key step in the Obama administration’s bid to broker a peace deal ending the war in Afghanistan.

Congressional opposition is gaining steam, especially among Republicans but also among some senior Democrats, to the potential transfer to Qatar of five senior Taliban prisoners, a good-faith move that could set the stage for eventual political talks between the Taliban and Afghan government.

Feb 2, 2012

Lawmakers warn of outcry against Taliban transfer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers are steeling for a public battle against the possible transfer of Taliban detainees out of Guantanamo Bay prison, a key step in the Obama administration’s bid to broker a peace deal ending the war in Afghanistan.

Congressional opposition is gaining steam, especially among Republicans but also among some senior Democrats, to the potential transfer to Qatar of five senior Taliban prisoners, a good-faith move that could set the stage for eventual political talks between the Taliban and Afghan government.

Jan 16, 2012

Costs in doubt as NATO moves toward smaller Afghan force

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As NATO nations revise their plans for standing up local security forces in Afghanistan, doubts are growing over whether the West will be willing to pay for even a smaller Afghan force seen as key to keeping militants at bay as foreign troops go home.

U.S. and NATO officials have been moving toward a decision on a revised target for Afghanistan’s fledgling army and police, possibly leaving them much smaller than the goal of 352,000 already approved by the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai to be reached by October 2012.

Jan 12, 2012

New Afghanistan assessment reflects split U.S. views

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and NATO soldiers have weakened the Taliban but not enough to force the militants to abandon their fight against foreign troops, according to a new intelligence assessment that highlights an abiding division between the U.S. military and intelligence views on the war in Afghanistan.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the new National Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan concluded that a stepped-up Western military campaign had done real damage to the Taliban’s military prowess but “not enough so to change their strategic calculus.”

Jan 12, 2012

U.S. launches new push to secure Afghan peace talks

By Missy Ryan and Warren Strobel

(Reuters) – Seeing a new glimmer of hope in its effort to broker Afghan peace talks, the Obama administration is launching a fresh round of shuttle diplomacy with an immediate goal of sealing agreement for Taliban insurgents to open a political office in the Gulf state of Qatar.

Marc Grossman, President Barack Obama’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, begins a diplomatic blitz this weekend that includes talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul and top officials in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Jan 6, 2012

U.S. politicians may seek to block Taliban transfer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Critics of a possible transfer of Taliban prisoners are discussing tactics to block it, even before the Obama administration appears to have made a final decision on the most politically contentious element of its bid to broker an Afghan peace deal.

Administration officials have, under strict conditions of secrecy, briefed senior lawmakers dealing with military, foreign policy and intelligence issues about the proposal that would move five senior Taliban detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba to Afghan custody.

Jan 6, 2012

U.S. lawmakers may seek to block Taliban transfer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Critics of a possible transfer of Taliban prisoners are discussing tactics to block it, even before the Obama administration appears to have made a final decision on the most politically contentious element of its bid to broker an Afghan peace deal.

Administration officials have, under strict conditions of secrecy, briefed senior lawmakers dealing with military, foreign policy and intelligence issues about the proposal that would move five senior Taliban detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba to Afghan custody.

    • About Missy

      "Prior to heading the Mexico bureau, Missy was deputy bureau chief in Baghdad. She has also covered commodities in Washington, DC and worked in Peru, Argentina and Egypt for Reuters."
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